Monday, January 11, 2010

Fungi Unidentified

Roger and I have found a new hiking trail, the Loma Rica, aptly named as it translates (according to Babelfish) to "rich hill." What we like about it is the very large sun-drenched grasslands we cross at the very beginning of the hike. It's always humming with bird calls and flocks that flee at our approach with a flash of beating wings against the crazy blue winter sky. The trail winds up into a pine and oak forest with plenty of shade, providing for an eye-popping amount of fungi. So, we're still running around the hills brushing off raised mounds to reveal plate-sized mushrooms. We find it endlessly fascinating.
The other day we decided to concentrate on things that don't look mushroom-like, but rather grow on tree bark, dropped pine needles, and around the stems of things. The colors are pretty dramatic, as are the oozing shapes and amorphous sizes.
Of course, we always try to identify what we've seen, but my google searches didn't seem to have very much in the way of answers. Here's what I think: The internet needs a fungus guide modeled after the bugguide.net. When I do a google search on yellow thread-type fungus, and then click on images, I shouldn't have to wade through photos of peoples' toenail fungus. That's just plain wrong, isn't it? I wouldn't care if someone created a guide to toenail fungus, in fact I think that would be a fine idea. But it shouldn't overlap with fungus I find in the forest. Can we separate fungus that grows on human bodies from fungus that grows in the forest. They're different. (I know they're both fungi, but they inhabit different niches entirely.) I could be wrong about this, it wouldn't be the first time. Maybe I just need to be enlightened.
And btw, I looked at the pictures. Those are not yellow thread-type fungus on those toes. I don't know how they got on the page of results, but someone needs to create a better algorithm. Fungus (not toenail) would be a good beginning.

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